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Rod Rosenstein Rises — No More the Mousy, if Mostly Honest, Bureaucrat We’ve Seen Before

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I imagine you’ve seen the video from yesterday of Rod Rosenstein– asked about the moves by a much of House Republicans to impeach him — rising to call them out, saying that the Department of Justice will not be “extorted,” and that he will honor his oath of office no matter the number of threats directed at him to intimidate him.

He showed fire and courage that I, for one, didn’t know he had in him.

I attribute this profile in courage and integrity to two things.

First, there were reports in the last couple of weeks that Rosenstein was at peace with the possibility that Trump would fire him. Which brings to mind the idea — is it from the teachings of some Japanese (probably Samurai) warrior subculture? — that a warrior gains strength from having already accepted his death, from not fearing any possible scenarios.

Rosenstein now shows that strength, as he speaks powerfully to frame this farce regarding articles of impeachment against him as an attack on the rule of law. He calls out the demands from the Republicans in Congress as requiring him to violate his oath of office.

And another factor that may explain Rosenstein’s boldness: perhaps he has the good strategic sense to recognize how this impeachment does not truly threaten him, and thus provides him a good opportunity for standing and fighting.

Because the votes will simply never be there to impeach him, the Republicans chose this battle unwisely. They probably never foresaw that he’d seize this opportunity to strike back at them, calling out their attempt to use extortion to obstruct justice.

Perhaps they assumed he’d just keep absorbing the blows and threats, as he has been doing for so long — just standing his ground between Mueller and his assailants — and not fight back.

But this time Rosenstein showed something different. He’s ready to fight the battle, and he’s shown that he’s got a good instinct for when to throw a punch, and what punch to throw.

So Rod Rosenstein — as an upholder of the rule of law — has shown himself a better man than I thought. And given his position guarding the barricades against the subversion of justice — as the man who protects Mueller and gives him room to do his work —  that is good news indeed.

Difficult and dangerous times can expose the weakness and cowardice of some people. But it also provides the occasion for unexpected people to rise to play a heroic role.